As a pool owner, you are responsible for keeping your pool safe and clean. There are a few essential tasks to perform to ensure your pool is clean all year long. The three C’s for basic pool maintenance are circulation, cleaning, and chemistry. If you can master these, then you will have the best-looking pool on the block every year.
The Basics of Pool Maintenance
This is one of the most important aspects to pool maintenance. Your pump and filter system ideally should be run 24 hours a day, but this is expensive. You can still have a crystal clear pool running it less frequently. In the summer, it is advised to run filters and pumps between 8 and 12 hours a day. During cooler months, you can lower this to between 4 and 6 hours a day. Additionally, if you have a variable speed pump, lower this and it can be run more frequently. You can also save money by running the filtration system at night.
The next important component to circulation is the jets, specifically the angling of them. You may have multiple jets or just one. Jest should be angled at about 8 o’clock so that water can be pushed underneath to the bottom of the pool. If you have a skimmer next to your pool jet, the jet needs to be facing away from the skimmer to create a whirlpool. You also want to regularly clean the skimmers and pump baskets so debris does not block water circulation.
The filter and pump are important when it comes to overall pool cleaning. As noted, debris can accumulate and block the flow of water and can jam the filtration system. If you have a sand filter, you need to make sure you backwash this regularly. There is a pressure gauge on the filter that indicates how many pounds it is operating at. Between 10 and 15 psi is normal. If it ever goes 10 pounds over this, the filter is clogged and needs to be back washed. If you have a cartridge filter, this is cleaned by removing it and rinsing it with a hose. You can also soak it overnight in a cleaning solution. The pressure gauge will again be your indicator that the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned.
The next step in cleaning is skimming. You can do this using a leaf net or your hand to skim the surface of the pool for debris. Ideally, you want to do this every day but if not a few times a week is necessary to prevent the debris from sinking to the bottom of the pool. You will have to vacuum stuff that gets to the bottom and that is much harder than skimming. Brushing is the next step to cleaning and is something many pool owners skip. You can buy a pool brush from any pool supply store and brush the steps, sides, and ladders every other day. You can do this on the same days that you skim the pool to keep it consistent. Finally comes vacuuming. You can invest in an automatic pool cleaner or manually vacuum the pool yourself. Ideally, this needs to be done once a week but if you are skimming and brushing frequently, you may not need to do this as often.
The chemistry of your pool is important to clarity as well as safety. You need to be testing the water at least once, if not twice a week. You can use at home test kits or strips and want to look at the pH and alkalinity. The pH needs to be kept between 7.2 and 7.6 and alkalinity needs to be between 100 and 150 parts per million. As for pool sanitizers, there are a few options. Chlorine needs to be kept at 3 parts per million to prevent bacteria and algae growth as well as cloudy water. For bromine, you want to keep levels at between 3 and 5 parts per million. Shocking is also something you need to do with a chlorine pool, but can also do with a bromine pool. Shocking involves taking the sanitizer and putting a very concentrated amount in the pool to kill everything. You can do this bi-weekly or even weekly if your chemical levels are pretty steady and on track.
Proper pool maintenance can be as simple as these 3 C’s. Once you develop a routine for cleaning and maintenance it becomes much easier. Without work, your pool will not be fit for swimming. To make sure your pool is crystal clear all year, follow this guide and your pool will be ready for you to dive into any time, any day.